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2012 FINA World League: United States Takes On Croatia In Semifinal Match

May 27, 2012; Newport Beach, CA, USA; United States goalie Merrill Moses (1) defends the cage against Hungary at Newport Harbor high school. The United States defeated Hungary 12-9. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
May 27, 2012; Newport Beach, CA, USA; United States goalie Merrill Moses (1) defends the cage against Hungary at Newport Harbor high school. The United States defeated Hungary 12-9. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

The United States have advanced to the semifinal round of the FINA World league and they will be taking on a familiar opponent in Croatia who won Group B. Overall, Croatia has played a better tournament than the United States as the Croatian team has not been challenged outside of a 7-6 win over Spain, and to a lesser extent in their 14-11 win against Australia.

The United States must step up their power play chances as they have converted only 7-of-20 over their last two wins which includes a 7-5 loss to Italy in group play.

These two teams recently played an exhibition series in Southern California just two weeks ago, and the two squads split their two game set with Croatia winning 9-8 and then Team USA winning 9-5.

The two teams are familiar with each other and this semifinal match should be a close contested game. Keys for the United States to get a victory are to convert at least 50 percent of their power play goals, goalie Merrill Moses has a great game in the cage, continuing their lock down defense and do not have a letdown if Team USA happens to go up by three or more goals.

In Team USA's 9-5 win, they completed all of those keys against Croatia. The United States went 6-for-10 on power play chances, Moses had nine saves, the power play defense held Croatia to only 3-of-10 conversions. and the United States outscored Croatia 4-1 in the second half.

This game takes place on Saturday morning at 6:50 a.m. EST and will be streamed live online, so for those early birds here is a chance to watch the game live. Being unfamiliar with FINA TV, I am not sure if they game will be available to watch at a more reasonable hour.

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